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2019 Men’s World Championship 2019 Men’s World Championship
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Date: 12/13/2018

Two teams that contested the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 semi-finals have reached the same stage again, and they are joined by two new contenders. Russia secured their berth in the medal round in their second main round match, but the other tickets were not decided until the results of the very last games were known – and it was championship hosts France, the Netherlands and Romania who celebrated.


In Group I in Nantes, Montenegro opened the day with a 23:24 defeat to Denmark that signalled the end of their race to reach the semi-finals. The second game saw two records – Sweden beat their own for the highest number of goals scored in one match when they defeated Russia 39:30. 2016 Olympic Games and 2017 World Championship All-star right wing Nathalie Hagman equalled the record for the highest number of goals from one player in a single game, at 17. The record was set by Polish back Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc in 2006.


Sweden therefore moved up to five points and had to wait for the results of the France versus Serbia clash to close the day, which would decide whether the Scandinavian side played for a medal or fifth place. The hosts followed Sweden’s example by breaking their record for highest number of goals in one match, as they defeated Serbia 38:28.


France finished the main round with a tally of seven points, one behind their Olympic final opponents Russia. It is France’s first ever consecutive qualification for the Women’s EHF EURO semi-finals, after they took the bronze medal in 2016.


In Group II, it was EHF EURO 2016 runners-up the Netherlands who finished on top of the table – but they were far from certain of that before they took the court in the final match in Nancy. If the Netherlands lost, they would drop to fourth in the group, while a draw would see them secure first place and a semi-final ticket.


Earlier in the evening, Norway kept their semi-final chances alive with a 33:26 victory over Spain, which meant they also had a nervous wait to learn their fate. Hungary defeated Romania 31:29 in a classic derby, but Romania could afford such a loss and still reach the medal round. However, during the match Romania lost one thing that might not be so easy to do without – three-time World Player of the Year Cristina Neagu. The all-time EHF EURO top scorer suffered a knee injury late in the match after scoring nine goals.


The Netherlands took the court against Germany and their former coach Henk Groener for the final, decisive game, taking a 27:21 win that clinched their berth and decided not only their opponents’ fate but also that of Romania and Norway. Though Romania, Norway and Hungary all finished the main round with six points, Romania have the better goal difference in the head-to-head results between the three sides. As the third-ranked team in the group, Norway will take on Sweden for fifth place.


More information on the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 can be found on the official website.


Photo: EHF / Kolektiff Images